Sunflowers among the weeds...International Bereaved Mother's Day 05/05/19

Sunday, May 5th is International Bereaved Mother’s Day. I’ve done blog posts in the past, and after spending some time editing sunflowers that I happened upon here locally, I saw an opportunity to share in part what I saw while photographing these beauties.

Sunflower season here in Solano and Yolo Counties will be sometime in June, and yet I was able to find a few springing up in a field where they were last year. Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. I’ve added a few fun facts about them just to give you an understanding of how amazing they are. Sunflowers are used to demonstrate a mathematical term called a Fibonacci sequence. You can also see this sequence in artichokes and cauliflowers. While reading about this sequence in sunflowers researchers have found that the patterns can be inconsistent in sunflowers and quoting the article “real life is messy.” This is a truth that is lived out daily in the life of a bereaved parent and when speaking about loss and grief. It is the only flower to have the word “flower” in its name. Sunflower removes toxins and is a natural decontaminator of soil. They have been used to clean up dirt at some of the biggest environments disasters, including Chernobyl and Fukushima. Sunflowers are native to the Americas. Some of these facts come from this article. As you might now see sunflowers have a medicinal quality to them. They have been used to heal and remove toxins from soil. As I photographed these beautiful flowers, I was struck by the fact that even though they were growing among weeds, they thrived. I saw a few bees although they seemed to be moving slowly and possibly dying. So much about these flowers lead me to see myself and other bereaved mothers the same way.

These flowers were strong. Even though the weeds had dropped some of the seeds to strike down these flowers they still stood firm...strong almost like flower sentinels. They’re looking for the sun and following its course across the sky. They are beautiful. Some of their petals hidden from the sun but just as yellow and brilliant as the noonday sun. Some of these beauties had yet to open, and many of them winking so to speak as only a few of their petals had started to open.

This blog goes out to all of you who mourn the loss of your child/ren. You inspire me. Even amid your loss, you continue to move towards health. You still remind me that you are bright sunflower standing firm in your memories of your child/ren. You are learning that your loss has defined for you those things that are toxic and you move towards removing them from your path. Some of you are still trying to figure out what you need and yet, you persevere opening up just a few of your petals as you follow your path. The loss of your child will continue to shape each move you make. It will define who you are and why you do what you do. I pray that you continue to remain strong and resilient. Standing tall like a sunflower.

Lane Andrew Boicelli 3/12/19

Sometimes you never think that the things you hope for will happen. My friend, Cathy and I have always talked about photography as it is a common passion we both have. Back when I started she and I would joke that if she ever had another baby I wanted to be right in the middle of her birth experience with my camera ready. It of course was a joke but little did I know that our joking would come to pass with her getting pregnant. That I would be prepared in my photography journey to document the birth. So as the count down began I had been prepared for the call since the end of February. Checking in once a week and watching her progress. So when I checked in earlier this week I was excited that she was preparing to be induced if progress had stalled. I checked in with her at 9am on Tuesday and they had just checked-in at Sutter-Roseville. She said she would check back with me in 30 minutes. Inductions normally take some time so I waited to check back in about 10 am.

I got no response from her via text. When I finally got a hold of Brandon at 11:15am he informed me that the baby had already arrived. I had missed the birth…so I jumped in the car and headed to Roseville to capture the rest of the day. Lane is a sweet baby with blond hair and the sweetest disposition. He is a momma’s boy although he calms right down at the sound of his daddy’s voice. He was alert and never once took his eyes off Cathy. He has a big brother, who was cautious at first but before too long was wanting to hold him and a big sister who I believe will nurture and care for him in ways only a big sister can. Lane will have a host of family and friends that will love and care for him always and forever.

Welcome to the world Lane Andrew Boicelli. I am so thankful to celebrate your arrival with your family.

Creation has always been the thing that connects me to the Lord. Since starting to do birth photography it has always been my desire to capture the first sunrise and the first sunset on the day that a baby comes into the world. Sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn’t…God was faithful to provide the opportunity on the day that would be Lane’s birthday.

Righteousness will go before Him to prepare the way for His steps. Psalm 85:13

Sunflowers and what they're teaching me...

We are just a few weeks away from the start of Fall. It’s hard to imagine that when we have days that the temperature is close to 100 degrees but by the ticking of time the calendar inches closer to the date that signifies to us that cooler weather and falling leaves is around the corner. There is something that always tugs in me as we say so long to summer and welcome the coming of fall. I’m kinda a big fan of most of the seasons but fall and spring are usually my favorites. Spring as it brings the beauty of new birth after a winter of loss. Summer is filled with long days in the sun and warm evenings of smooth conversations. Fall brings with it the vibrant changes in nature and for me it was always a time to plan for significant milestones as it is my birthday season and the birth dates for my boys. 

Much of the joy and excitement of fall has changed for me since Evan’s death. There is almost this resistance/hesitance to slow down the movement of time. I can’t really explain it other than fall was always such a great season for me but I have sustain such a significant amount of loss during this season I want to stay parked in summer indefinitly. The reason being is maybe not so obvious to most but summer is easier. There are no time constraints. The days are longer the nights are shorter and the sunflowers are blooming. All of it doesn’t remind me that soon you will need to start walking towards fall. Because fall holds with its beauty a measure of pain. 

This year in my travels the process of this beauty for ashes was much more evident for me as I watched the transformation of my beloved sunflowers. If you follow me even a little you know I start my search for sunflowers in early May as they are just starting the growing season here locally. I try hard to extend my watch through the summer but this year I went out to some of the fields as they were dying. The significance of the dying process for sunflowers is just as important as the beauty they bring to us as we drive by the fields. It permitted me to be fully part of the loss of these flowers and to understand the great impact they have in their beauty and in their dying. 

Today, September 9th. 2018,  which is 22 months since Evan's death and is a few months shy of what would be his 28th birthday. Alex and I will celebrate our birthdays next month. The Earth will keep spinning. The trees will change and days will get shorter. But what I wonder does the significance of Evan’s life that was so vibrant when he was living continue in his dying?? Does the impact he made continue even though he isn’t here to have his voice heard? As I ponder those things I think of the beautiful sunflowers.

The Waxing Moon and Balloons over Vacaville

So thankful to live in a city that has so much open space that I can find beautiful things to photograph. Last night I was able to capture the waxing moon as it moves ever closer to the full moon. Here is a little help with the waning and waxing moon How to Tell Whether the Moon Is Waxing or Waning: 9 Steps. I was up early and caught a glimpse of these balloons coming in from Napa. So lovely, it was such a great start to the day and cool temperatures this early morning too. Enjoy these beauties!!

Chasing Sunflowers....

Many times when I am out photographing I don't always realize what I have truly captured until I see it through the process of culling and editing. It is during this process that photographs really speak to my soul. Nearly every time I’m editing I am moved to tears as I see what the Creator has allowed me to capture. Creation has always, for me, spoken of the existence of Christ. Even before I came to know Him the sound of the wind blowing, the blue of the sky, the beauty in a flowers, the moon and the stars...all of it moved me. 

Tonight I ended my evening in Davis and stopped just before sunset at the sunflower field off of Pedrick Road. Oh so many sunflowers all blowing in the wind. Some with large faces, some with medium faces, some with dried up faces, some tall, some small, some short and some just beginning to get ready to open. What I was struck by was how all of each stage of  growth was encouraging the other to grow, to dance, to sprout. I know it seems funny but that is what I is this beautiful dance of shine their faces on all of the different stages and say..."Come can do it" "You are so beautiful...just keep growing!". Oh how lovely are the faces of those sunflowers. The comfort even of knowing that even the ones that are dying are going to be used for a greater purpose. It was really lovely. 

It made think of each of us....what stage of growth are we in? Can you call out with your beautiful face and be like these sunflowers? Come can do it!! 

Putting Your Art Out There...The Story Continues.

So after much encouragement from friends and family, I placed some of my photos in several art shows.  Those shows are the California State Fair, The Juried Art Show at the Vacaville Art Gallery and The Mother Lode Art Exhibition in Placerville. I wasn't sure it was something I wanted to do, as I had shared in a previous blog post before about Putting Your Art Out There..... it is somewhat of a vulnerable place for artists and it is also a bit of a task as you have to decide what pieces you have and what will be show worthy. So I did that and found I had about 16 photos that after talking it through with an online group I felt good about the choices and how they inspired the type of emotion that made me along with others enjoy them....I entered a few landscapes, a few portraits of others, some event photos and just a few with no specific designation other then they were photos that friends had enjoyed.

The first show I was suppose to hear from was the California State Fair. To make a long story short I did not hear from the coordinator on the designated day that was given to me so I thought I did not get into the Fair. As this was my first time putting art pieces in a show I didn't realizing that a formal email would be sent if you were accepted or rejected. I was a a lot discouraged. Fortunately, for me, I was able to process with an online group of friends who had helped me decide the photos that I should place in these shows. They encouraged me and I pressed on to go out that evening and photograph sunflowers. (I LOVE Sunflowers) Then two day later I got this email "Welcome Exhibitors" which informed me that my photo "So Many Things to Ponder" got accepted into the California State Fair. In addition to finding out about the California State Fair. this last weekend I also found out that four of my photos had been accepted to the Juried Art Show in Vacaville and two accepted to the Mother Lode Art Exhibition. To say that this has been challenging would be an under statement. I have felt the sting of rejection but also the overwhelming joy of having something I have created be appreciated. So many thanks to all of my friends and family who encouraged me and helped me get to this point. You are my inspiration!! Thank you!!